Children are the future of climate change activism

Youth are important in the climate change agenda. There is an urgent need to involve more children and youth to help address climate change and its effects.

November 16, 2021 by Bridget Akurut
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2 minutes read
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Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda. Credit: Bridget Akurut
Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda.
Credit: Bridget Akurut

As COP26 has made clear, climate change, and the protection of planet Earth for the survival and the future well-being of all humanity and species, has increasingly become a global concern. All of us need to take greater individual and collective responsibility to protect and conserve our environment.

I believe that the development of policy and its implementation must involve the current young generation as overseers of the future. We must recognize the urgent need to involve children and youth to address climate change and its effects. We must recognize that when the environment we live in is destroyed, there’s no survival for future generations.

Currently, efforts undertaken by community-based organizations include creating environment clubs for learners, developing age-appropriate activities for learners in environmental conservation, as well as eco-school/green school interventions with tree planting, waste management and distribution of environment-friendly tree seedlings to schools and surrounding communities.

With such interventions, school efforts are tailored toward providing learners with practical ways of learning about climate change and hands-on approaches for conserving and protecting the environment.

A child’s painting showing the importance of trees. Credit: Bridget Akurut
A child’s painting showing the importance of trees.
Credit:
Bridget Akurut

However, there is need to increase and enhance the knowledge and learning tools of learners in schools, through creating awareness and providing access to information on climate change impact, mitigation and adaptation, as well as a need to influence mindset change, giving the learners a platform and the initiative to become change agents.

Learning institutions that want to impart climate change education to the youth must also make sure that they are leading by example in terms of sustainability and being environmentally friendly while providing learners a conducive environment.

A handful of global climate activists—such as Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate—have shown how central youth are in global climate change activism. How about we build capacity of many more young people to advocate for climate change?

Uganda has developed a national strategy to strengthen learning and skills development on climate change. More efforts are dedicated toward integration of climate change in the learning curricula across all levels of learning.

Schoolchildren carrying tree seedlings distributed by a community organization for tree planting. Credit: Bridget Akurut
Schoolchildren carrying tree seedlings distributed by a community organization for tree planting.
Credit:
Bridget Akurut
Bridget Akurut, GPE Youth Leader, engaging with schoolgirls on how climate change affects their education. Credit: Bridget Akurut
Bridget Akurut, GPE Youth Leader, engaging with schoolgirls on how climate change affects their education.
Credit:
Bridget Akurut

The promotion of climate-smart agriculture to ensure food security, along with controlled activities to protect the environment, is also an urgent intervention, as food processing exposes the atmosphere and the ground environment to risk of destruction.

We therefore call on the global community to place young people at the center of the climate change discourse. We hold the future in our hands in a safe and protected environment.

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Climate change
Sub-Saharan Africa: Uganda

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